Traumatic brain injuries occur when there is a violent jolt to the head that causes damage to the brain tissue. TBIs range from mild to severe, and there is a variety of symptoms.
Individuals who suffer from more serious forms of brain injury have long-term effects, often lasting a lifetime. Many of them require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
Symptoms of moderate and severe brain injuries
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the physical symptoms of TBI noticed soon after the trauma include vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness, persistent headaches, loss of coordination and numbness or weakness. Cognitive symptoms include coma, slurred speech, confusion and unusual mental behaviors.
Once the medical team stabilizes the acute injury, the patient will usually live with long-term effects, because damaged brain tissues rarely heal. Some of the physical effects, depending on the location of the injury, may include loss of smell, facial paralysis, lack of coordination, dizziness, ringing in the ears, skin tingling, headaches and vertigo.
Other things affected are communication, intellect, emotions and behaviors. Some long-term effects may include:
- Difficulty writing or speaking
- Trouble organizing thoughts
- Mood swings
- Lack of self-control
- Trouble in social situations
Treatment and long-term care
The management of traumatic brain injuries often takes a lot of time, and it is expensive. Acute treatment often includes medication and surgeries to maintain oxygen and blood supply and to minimize secondary damage.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, rehabilitation begins during the acute phase of injury. Success depends on the location and severity of the injury, patient’s overall health and family support. The goals of rehab are to improve function, increase independence and improve the quality of the patient’s life. Some rehab services include pain management, physical care, communication skills, socialization skills, mobility skills, vocational training, cognitive skills and education. Rehab may last for months, years or a lifetime.